The Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia has selected Bluefield State College faculty member Dr. Tesfaye Belay as one of five finalists for the West Virginia’s 2019 Professor of the Year.
Dr. Belay’s passion for teaching and research was evident upon his arrival at BSC 14 years ago, when he began writing grants that expanded the College’s biomedical research facilities and capabilities. At the same time, he recruited, mentored, and encouraged students to conduct research.
To date, 55 BSC students trained in Dr. Belay’s laboratory have become medical doctors, osteopathic doctors, pharmacists, chiropractic doctors, nurses, and physician assistants, while others have entered graduate school.
“It has been gratifying to witness our student and faculty research grow significantly,” he noted. “We have received extramural grants from the National Institute of Health, NASA-West Virginia, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the U.S. Department of Energy, and other organizations.”
“Most importantly,” he continued, “I’ve been blessed to see our students grow as critical-thinking researchers. They have the drive, vision, and enthusiasm to conduct outstanding research. Their skill, knowledge, and understanding of research methods enables them to be competitive at the graduate level.” Each year, BSC STEM students also participate in biomedical and microbiology research conferences throughout the United States, interacting with other like-minded students.
“It is a great honor to be nominated for this prestigious award,” Dr. Belay added. “This is really a tribute to the hard work and commitment to excellence of our students, our faculty, and Bluefield State College.”
Brandon Kirby, Bluefield State College’s 2016 valedictorian, conducted biomedical research in Dr. Belay’s laboratory and provided these observations about his experience as a student at BSC. “Dr. Belay constantly encouraged each of his students to improve steadily, and to excel at the goals we set for ourselves. He always supported us and prepared us for the professional paths ahead.
Interviews with the five Faculty Merit Foundation finalists will be conducted on February 18. The finalists will be honored at an April 7 reception and banquet in Charleston, where the 2019 Professor of the Year will be announced.